August 20, 1910 was the day my maternal grandfather was born. Today he would have been 98 years old. He left us 3 years ago, but it is still hard for me to believe he is gone. In fact, just the other day I had an occasion where I wanted to pick up the phone to call him and my grandma to tell them something about the kids. Then it hit me that they weren't there to call anymore, but I smiled because I believe they knew the story already, as they had watched it happening from above.
My grandfather was the best. He was always smiling and quick to laugh and loved to make other people laugh. He had the knack for putting people at ease and making them comfortable in his presence. He was the first person I heard call someone " buddy" and have it sound totally natural and sincere, even if he was just meeting them for the first time. All the pictures I carry of him in my heart and head are of him smiling.
When I was little his hands seemed so big, so I used to just hold his finger instead of his whole hand.
He was extremely creative. He made a doll house for me from scratch complete with a "Tiffany" chandelier made out of a ping pong ball. He also used to make real stained glass creations, which I am still lucky enough to have a beautiful set of angels that he made that I use as part of our Christmas decorations. He also created a special musical verse that he would whistle to me, although he never sang the words just whistled the tune, the meaning was "this means grandpa loves you". He had a gold necklace made for me that had a small gold pendant on it. On one side of the pendent are the musical notes that he would whistle, and on the back the words "this means grandpa loves you." He said once to me, "I suppose someday you will be too embarrassed to wear this necklace." I'm not sure why he thought that, but I adamantly told him I would never be embarrassed by my necklace and I never have been or ever will be, and, yes, I still have it and still wear it sometimes. Even though I can hear it in my head, I wish sometimes he was hear to whistle it to me.
As I have been contemplating this post over the last several days trying to decide what I wanted to write, each time I found myself crying, and I am crying now. My grandfather was truly one of the most special people I have ever known, and I could go on and on and on and on with stories all the way from when he was a mischievous youth to the last years of his life. They all make me smile and make my heart ache at the same time.
Happy Birthday, Grandpa. I hope you know how much you were and are loved by me. I know I will always know that "grandpa loves me."